Child Disability and Mothers' Labor Force Participation: A Study Using Matched 1993 NHIS and 1995 NSFG Data

Carrie E. Spearin, Brown University
Maryhelen D'Ottavi, Brown University
Jennifer M. Park, Harvard University

While many studies have examined the effect of family care-giving responsibilities on maternal workforce participation, this literature has not fully addressed trade-offs for parents of children with disability. Mothers of these children likely face greater care-giving tasks, perhaps making them more likely to exit the labor market. Nonetheless, these families also face increased financial burdens, thereby encouraging labor force participation. This paper explores whether mothers have different workforce participation trajectories after the birth of a child with or without disability. Matched records from the 1993 National Health Interview Survey and the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth provide a unique opportunity to examine the effects of child disability on maternal labor force participation. Using event history techniques to estimate the effect of the birth of a child with a disability on the risk of 1) dropping out of the labor force entirely; or 2) delay in the return to work.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Applied Demography, Methods, Migration, Labor and Education, Gender, and Race and Ethnicity